A New Zealand man appeared in court this week charged with buying drugs on the deep web. During the trial, his lawyer has come up with an interesting defence for buying drugs on the internet.
The New Zealand Herald reports that Daniel Wayne Fowler, 23, plead guilty to importing a class B drug on Wednesday. New Zealand customs intercepted three packages sent to Fowler’s address from Germany and Belgium, and found that they contained 201 Ecstasy pills and 16 grams of cannabis.
During the trial, it emerged that Fowler had purchased the drugs online, visiting deep web drug marketplace the Silk Road and paying for them using the cryptocurrency Bitcoin.
Foster’s lawyer Tudor Clee tried to convince the court that buying drugs on the internet wasn’t a particularly serious crime. Here’s one of his justifications:
It’s safer and easier to order the drugs — which are the subject of the charges before the court today — than it is to order a pizza. Choose the delivery location, choose the toppings and place the order.
That’s not completely true. Ordering drugs on the deep web involves downloading special software, purchasing Bitcoin, encrypting messages and generally having an understanding of how the internet works. You don’t need any of that to buy pizza.
Clee also said that buying drugs on the internet is safer than “walking down the local gang pad.” That’s a fair point, buying drugs on the street is pretty dangerous. Spending your hard-earned Bitcoin on drugs is pretty safe, the most dangerous thing that could happen is being sent a tainted batch of drugs.
The court asked why Foster had ordered over 200 pills. Buying lots of drugs is a sign that he intended to sell them on, which carries a harsher sentence. Clee had an answer for that, too. He said that “it’s not possible to buy five or six pills,” pointing out that sellers only deal in large batches because that’s the only way they can make a profit.
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